Tag Archives: Garmin

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Running Trail

1 Mar

Before I delve into my post, I have returned. I’ve been so insanely busy, I had to take a break from blogging. Work, social life will do that to you I guess. I apologize for being MIA for so long. Even my exercise wasn’t very consistent, which was annoying. I feel much more back on track now and spring is around the corner, which always helps. I think I’m one of those seasonal affective disorder people as I tend to hibernate more in the winter.

Anyhow, I’ve been running for almost a year and a half now. I was never very good at it, but I liked it. It was a hard pill to swallow to not be good at it, but I kept at it. Since completing the marathon, I’ve found a new love for running. All the pressure of the race is gone, and I actually truly love it now. I run just to feel good and enjoy myself. I don’t look at my Garmin to constantly check pace. I just run and go with it. At the gym at work, I do speed training like I always have. I noticed some improvement, but nothing major. Still a slow penguin.

Last weekend, I went running with a friend who is getting ready to do her first half marathon. We decided to do a 6 mile run together, which was her first time going that distance. She led on pace, which was definitely harder than what I was used to. However, I was able to keep up surprisingly. After we turned around (we did an out and back of 3 miles each way), I got a second wind and was actually doing really well. I was even able to charge up some hills, which was a first.

I couldn’t believe it! Normally I end up walking the hills as my legs cramp up, but this was no biggie. We kept going until we finished our 6 miles. I finally checked the Garmin and we completed 6.03 miles in 1:17:21. I thought that seemed like a pretty fast time, but I wasn’t sure. When I got home and checked my running diary, my previous PR for 6 miles was 1:29:50. I had shaved 12 minutes off of my time! I wasn’t even trying! It just came naturally. I was so excited.

I finally, finally was getting to be a better runner. Maybe not great and never going to be fast, but this was a respectable time. So when I finally gave up trying to get faster and worrying about getting faster, I actually got faster!


Here I Go Again…

16 Jan

I apologize for not posting the last several days, but I was on vacation. To celebrate my mom’s upcoming 60th birthday, we took a family trip to San Francisco, a city I had never previously visited. I really loved the city on the bay, it was gorgeous. What surprised me though was how many runners were around. I’m in good shape and live at high altitude, but the San Francisco hills were killing me just walking around. Yet, I probably saw about 100 runners throughout the weekend including around 60 on Saturday alone in groups.

Normally when I go on vacation, I take my workout stuff with me, but since this was a short trip and I was trying to conserve precious luggage space, I chose not to. One of the pluses and minuses to going on vacation is eating out a lot as well. I love to try new cuisines and restaurants, but now that I eat fairly healthy most of the time, it was draining. By Saturday morning, I was done eating food and wanted to run. I longed to join the runners I saw out on the Pier 39 boardwalk. I was so incredibly jealous that they were running, and I was walking to breakfast! Wow, just a few years ago, I would have had the thought “those people are crazy, thank goodness I get pancakes soon.”

We got back later yesterday, so this morning I woke up to go for a run. I told myself if I could do 10 miles then I was going to sign up for the Colorado Springs Super Half Marathon on February 5th. I haven’t run over 4 miles since the marathon in October with one six-mile exception two weeks after the race. I’ve been so busy and the holidays were crazy, I stuck to 3 – 4 mile runs on the weekend.

Well, it felt awesome to run today. I was so grateful to be out on a windy, but otherwise lovely day. I didn’t look at my Garmin or care what time I was clocking. I just wanted to run and run and run. The last 1.5 miles were a challenge. My body was a bit angry. First I put it through several miles of walking San Francisco’s hills, but then I took it out for 10 miles after a 3 month rest. But I manage to plod through and finish my 10 miles.

I’m sore and tired from being out of practice, but I feel great. I am definitely signing up for the race. I’m not looking to PR and most likely won’t, but I am looking forward to getting back into long distance racing. I love that high and that feeling once it’s done. It is truly glorious.

So just a few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to go out to a restaurant. Instead, I’m dying to run 13.1 miles. Half marathon in 3 weeks? Bring it!

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Runners

24 Dec

Okay so I’m being extremely last minute in even posting last minute gift ideas, but I’ve been swamped and hey, most stores are still open today. Do you have a runner in your family or group of friends or someone who’s interested in becoming a runner? Support their passion for the open road with these fabulous gift ideas!

1. DVD: Spirit of the Marathon

This is great a documentary about the Chicago Marathon. It features both elite and novice runners and follows their training for the big event. It is extremely inspiring to anyone who runs whether they stick to a 5K or are a marathoner.

2. Under Armour Cold Gear

Runners hit the pavement in all kinds of weather, but being prepared for Mother Nature is essential to stay healthy and safe. I’m a big fan of Under Armour’s Cold Gear line. It keeps you warm in very cold temperatures, but wicks aways moisture and sweat so you don’t turn into an icky, uncomfortable mess. If you’re lucky enough to have an Under Armour outlet near you, they have fabulous prices.

3. Book: First Marathons by Gail Kislevitz

This is an awesome, inspiring collection of short stories about people’s first experiences with a marathon. It showcases elite runners, dedicated veterans and novices who dared to take on the 26.2 mile monster. It was the first book I read when I started marathon training, and I ended up reading it 2 more times during my training to stay inspired.

4. Garmin Forerunner 310XT

If you really, really love someone in your life, this fabulous GPS watch is a great gift. It is very pricey at $349.99, but for a dedicated distance runner, it’s a must-have. It is waterproof and tracks distance, elevation, calories, pace, time and heart rate. If you’re an interval runner like me, it not only beeps at intervals but also vibrates, so if you’re music is on, you can still know when to run or walk. A great investment for the serious runner.

5. Book: The Long Run by Matt Long

This has to be one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. Whether you’re a runner or not, this book will bring you to tears and give you a new perspective on life. It is the story of NYC fireman Matthew Long who was a marathoner and Ironman. During the 2005 NYC transit strike, he was run over by a bus and given a 5% chance to live. Just 3 years later, he completed the NYC Marathon again and 4 years later, he became an Ironman again. It is a story of dedication, true grit and a great read for any runner.

Hope this list helps you narrow down some last minute gift ideas for the runners in your life. If you are really, really desperate, a gift card to iTunes is always a sure thing as most runners do run with music and can always use new songs. Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah!


Stocking Shuffle 5K: PeRfect PR

10 Dec

After the marathon, I was feeling a bit lost. I had nothing to train for and very much had a “now what?” type of attitude. I’m planning to do several half marathons next year, but I don’t need to start training until January. I really needed a break from all the heavy running since my work life has been horrendously busy and the holidays were coming. However, I didn’t want to do nothing until January either. So I signed up for a 5K race here in Colorado Springs called the Stocking Shuffle.

It’s sponsored by a local running group and benefits a local charity that provides toys and food to needy families at Christmas. It was a great cause and it gave me some direction to keep up my running.

The race was this morning. Unlike all of my previous races (there isn’t that many—2 5Ks, half marathon and a full marathon), I wasn’t nervous. I was finally running merely because I wanted to. I didn’t train to set a PR and just figured I’d have fun with it. If I set a PR, it’d be a nice bonus, but I was really braving this cold December morning just because I love running and racing.

There were only about 150 – 200 participants, so it was nice and small. The purpose of the race was to raise money, not spend money, so there weren’t any fancy timing chips, one small water station and no mile markers. Crowd watching was fun as everyone was decked out in holiday themed gear. I donned a santa hat and red gloves, but otherwise stuck to my running clothes since it was super cold this morning.

The horn buzzed and we were off. I flipped on my iPod and just enjoyed my run/walk. It was a cold, but pretty morning and we ran through the campus of Colorado College, which is beautiful. There was one very steep hill, which coincided with a walk break on my run/walk cycle, so that was lucky. I only checked my Garmin once, which was after the 2-mile mark and the only water station. I’m not very good at math, so I wasn’t quite sure if I was on track to set a PR. I decided not to care and just keep going. I was trying to push my pace much harder than normal since was a short distance, but I wasn’t going to get hung up on it.

I finally saw the park where the finish line was located and checked my Garmin again. I was at 2.70 miles and 33 minutes. I thought to myself, holy cow, I could actually set a PR. I found my marathon finish line song, “Sing” by My Chemical Romance, on my iPod and I decided to book it. I started running harder and harder, which thankfully it was down hill at that point.

My previous PR for a 5K distance was 39:40, and today, I sailed through the finish line at 37:04. I was so excited! I hadn’t stressed or pushed myself or even cared about a PR, and I beat my previous time by over 2.5 minutes! It felt fantastic. I’m still definitely one of the slower runners, but I made huge strides today and I had so much fun with it.

I have to admit though that the finish line high for a 5K wasn’t the same feeling like a half or a full marathon. Could I be getting the bug again to take the plunge for a full? I promised myself I won’t attempt to do a full marathon for a full year. I’m going to work hard on my half races next year and see where I end up. But, maybe, those finish line sirens are calling.


Running With Joy

9 Nov

I’ve been reading Ryan Hall‘s book called “Running With Joy” about finding the simple joy in running. I never understood it the entire time I was marathon training. I’m a perfectionist, and every run I went on, I was stressing out about the marathon. My times were always pushing the limit on how slow I could be and still finish on time. It was a constant battle the entire 10 months: would I finish? would I get faster?

Granted, I had some really good training runs where I felt great afterward and rocked an awesome runner’s high, but the question of finishing and being good enough were always at the back of my mind. I never quite fully enjoyed my runs with the pressure I had put on myself.

This past Sunday I went for a run. Not because I had to follow a schedule, but because I wanted some exercise and needed to clear my head after a stressful week. It was crisp and cool, but the sun was out so it was a nice day. I planned to do 6 – 8 miles depending on time and my energy levels. I hadn’t done a long run since the marathon, and I had just gotten new shoes last week.

I set off on the trail, which was fairly deserted. It was a beautiful fall morning. I had my iPod on, but otherwise just enjoyed the scenery. Squirrels and rabbits were out scurrying around trying to bulk up for winter. It was a lovely day. I ended up doing 6 miles. Before when I ran, I obsessively checked my Garmin for my pace, distance, time, etc to see if I was at all on track. I only checked my watch once on this run when I felt like turning around to make sure I had gone out 3 miles.

Otherwise, I didn’t have a clue the entire time what my pace was nor did I care. It was honestly one of the best runs I’ve ever been on. There was no more pressure, no need to accomplish anything. I was simply there to enjoy my run and get some exercise in. When I finished, I was really happy. It had taken me 1:29:50, but I didn’t care anymore. I just had enjoyed a beautiful 6 mile run on a great fall day. What was there to be upset about? I’ve already conquered the marathon. Now I can just sit back, relax and enjoy running with joy.

Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 310XT

9 May

All this time, I’ve been clocking my runs using an app on my iPhone that works with the iPhone’s GPS system. RunKeeper is a fantastic app, but, unfortunately, it sucks the battery life of the iPhone. The battery normally lasts about 10 hours, but would last only 2 while using it. So I dug into the couch for some extra change and decided to get a GPS running watch.

I first started with a Polar RS300x. Could be the worst thing ever created by mankind. It was not cheap at $250, but it didn’t work. I tried to set basic intervals on it for my 4 min run / 1 min walk, and it would only occasionally beep. It lost the GPS signal all the time even though I was in an open park in downtown Colorado Springs, and the beep was so quiet I literally could not listen to my headphones at all.

So I returned it and decided to shell out the big bucks for a Garmin. I was given the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, and took it for my first test run this past weekend. What an amazing product! It not only beeps loudly but it vibrates at every interval so I can have my headphones on nice and loud and still know when to take my walk break. It never lost the signal and I was way back in the woods in the middle of nowhere. Plus, the user interface is extremely easy and simple to use. I never had to consult the manual whereas with the Polar watch, I read the manual 4 times and still didn’t understand it.

What’s even more awesome about the Garmin is you can plug in a USB drive to your computer that talks to the watch and downloads all the information. You get free software to keep track of all of your workouts online. It provides super accurate information about speed, pace, heart rate, elevation, distance and calories burned.

So, if you’re serious about running and are getting into very long distances, I highly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 310XT. It is worth the money and investment in your sport and will not disappoint you.